Mammoth step forward in DNA work

October 12, 2007

Mammoths may have pointed researchers to the latest weapon in crime detection.

An international team of scientists who have retrieved large amounts of DNA from prehistoric mammoths say the technique could help forensic investigations. The team, which includes members from Uppsala, Copenhagen and Penn State universities, extracted DNA from inside the hairs rather than the root and used new technology to rapidly sequence the DNA. The team said their discovery showed high-quality DNA could be preserved inside the hair strand and so strands without roots left at crime scenes could be analysed. They also hope to be able to analyse genes from a range of large mammals that became extinct after the last Ice Age.

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